Me, Myself, and Muse

Telling a story of course isn’t always easy, especially when it comes to scientific writing.  The story part of a scientific paper, for example the discussion or intro, can be a real challenge.  Today I was catching up on my podcasts while at the gym and I found a really interesting Radiolab episode called Me, Myself, and Muse.  I know…we’re starting to sound like we endorse Radiolab in our group (see JP’s post last month), but some of their episodes are quite relevant to the practicing scientist!  Anyway, this particular episode got me thinking about giving advice to students that are having trouble finding inspiration or their inter-genius.   Have a listen.  There’s an interesting piece about Elizabeth Gilbert (the author of Eat Pray Love) who comments on a conversation she once had with Tom Waits who apparently described to her his views on the creative process.  Maybe there is something here for the science writer?  This story reminded of a book that I read during a course I took at Penn State called The Art of Scientific Investigation by Beveridge (1950)…a classic!  In this book he discusses how one develops intuition and harnesses the processes of scientific discovery.   It’s a cool book and worth reading for anyone in science.

1 thought on “Me, Myself, and Muse”

  1. I also really enjoyed this episode. I found it very interesting and appropriate that they talked to two people with completely different methods for battling their own psychological limitations. Where Gilbert and Waits both “talked” to their ideas, Oliver Sachs took a completely different and much more harsh approach, sort of backing himself into a corner. I find it interesting that the scientist took a concrete and pretty self critical approach while the two artists were a lot more mystical(?) about it.

    Do you think this contrast is common? Do you think scientists can benefit from an inner dialogue with their ideas?

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